Dr. Robert Welsh, educated at Duke University and Duke Medical School, continued his residency in ophthalmology at Duke Hospital. He was later trained at Harvard Postgraduate Medical School in ophthalmology.
He began private practice at the age of 26 in Miami, Florida with Dr. Bascom H. Palmer, during which time he began research in better cataract spectacles and advanced contact lenses for aphakia. His extensive research brought him to the attention of the ophthalmologic educational world and he was guest speaker at most meetings on cataract surgery.
He founded the first Contact Lens International Congress in 1963 and in 1969, he followed up the innovative and successful meetings with the now famed Welsh Cataract Congresses. They’ve been continued to this day at Baylor Eye Department in Houston.
He has authored hundreds of scientific papers and six text books on these subjects. His inventions include the Welsh Four Drop Spectacles for Aphakia, Minimal Effective Diameter Types of Optical Centering for Cataract Spectacles, large and tiny hard contact lenses for aphakia, instruments used in the Gills technique of ECCE, methods of teaching microsurgery and the Welsh Operating Microscope for Mission Eye Surgery.
He was a pioneer in teaching Gills’ ECCE technique in cataract surgery to more than 3,000 eye surgeons worldwide. This led him to work in the field of volunteer mission eye surgery to third world countries through organizations such as Project Orbis, See International, and the yearly coursa International at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami.
Dr. Welsh was the first USA eye surgeon to limit his practice to cataract surgery and aphakic correction. He has won numerous awards such as the Maumenee Gold Award, the Pfizer Award in Innovative Medical Inventions and the Alcon Labs Award for his work in volunteerism.
In 1983, Dr. Welsh founded the Volunteer Eye Surgeons’ Association which networks volunteer eye surgeons in the USA and abroad to help alleviate cataract blindness in 18 million curable blind.
Retired from active practice, he continues his work in volunteerism and developing techniques to help conquer cataract blindness and to prevent glaucoma blindness.